Zen Ashtanga Yoga

Zen Ashtanga Yoga (ZAY) is the combining of Zen meditation and Ashtanga Yoga to create a complete mind body holistic practice. Each session begins with a 20-30 minute zazen sitting followed by 60-90 minutes of Ashtanga Yoga.

In ZAY the shitkantaza (she-can-taza) form of zazen (literally meaning zen meditation) is practiced. This form of meditation is a strictly goal less practice and leads us away from the dead end profit and loss mind-set of the 21st century. We learn to sit literally for sitting sake and not to try and get anywhere or anything from it.

Ashtanga Yoga builds strength & flexibility equally – more so than most other asana practices.In ZAY students are advised to follow the wise words of Bruce Lee and be like water – water being the perfect simile for Ashtanga Yoga , as in its ocean form we sense both its power and tranquillity.

Both Zazen & Ashtanga have very similar methodologies and through the practice of ZAY we experience these 2 sides of the same coin.

Both encourage regular daily practice, both have a strong focus on the correct alignment of the posture, both have a specific gazing point (drishti in Ashtanga) -in zazen the eyes are kept open and fixed on a specific point very similar to the drishtis of Ashtanga where in each posture there is a corresponding gaze point to help the steadying of the mind.

Zen Ashtanga Yoga – the posture of the body is the posture of the mind

One to one and small groups sessions available in Los Angeles. Matt’s studio is in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles , he is also able to come to your home , place of work or venue of your choice.

Please contact matt for more information and to organise your first session.


Matt Ryan has been practicing and teaching Ashtanga Yoga for over 20 years , and although he has studied the practice in Mysore he prefers to keep his teachings completely secular*. 10 years ago he started studying Zen Buddhism which foundations lie in the daily sitting practice of Zazen. When he added Zazen to his Ashtanga practice he noticed an immediate effect resulting in a steadier more focussed mind whilst moving through the asana sequences – the end result being a sense of in the moment presence coupled with a strong flexible mind & body. His has taught Yoga around the world but is now settled in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles, California.

For more info please contact Matt.

*Secular Ashtanga Yoga – This is the physical asana practice that is referred to as Ashtanga Yoga in the public domain. Matt teaches Ashtanga without any of the religiosity attached to Ashtanga Yoga – there is no surrendering involved.